Inspired by the popular ‘Artotek’—art for rent—concept that occurred in Scandinavia in the 1970s, Smykoteket is bringing its renewed version into contemporary jewellery. Löve Jonsson, the curator at the Rian Design Museum in Falkenberg and the founder of Smykoteket, was dealing with the question of democratisation and accessibility of contemporary jewellery for quite some time. As easy as borrowing a book from the library, you could be wearing a piece by your favouritejeweller with just a few clicks. Even though the project is primarily targeted towards the local audience, it’s unique travelling version is going to be introduced during this year of Stockholm Craft Week.
September 28, 2020
CO: Can you talk a little bit about the Smyckoteket and what are you preparing for Stockholm Craft Week?
Löve Jonsson: Well, even if the Smyckoteket project is very much aimed towards a local audience in Falkenberg, we’ve had already from the beginning the intention that it could also function as a kind of travelling exhibition or travelling collection of jewellery that could pop up at other places as well. So, this is the first test of that idea when we bring a selection of the collection to Stockholm Craft Week and offer the collection on loan to people in Stockholm.
CO: How does the loaning process work?
LJ: On the Stockholm Craft Week website you can find information and images of all the works. You can choose and then send an email for making a reservation. It’s slightly different than our usual booking system.
There will be also a small reception on Wednesday evening at Konsthantverks centrum where 10 pieces in their respective wooden boxes together with large-scale photographs of people wearing those pieces will be on display. The photographs will be shown for the whole week, but the jewellery pieces will hopefully be picked up and you would be able to spot these on people around Stockholm.
CO: Speaking about the beginnings of the project, it seems like you’ve had this idea for many years. Did you have some kind of ‘wishlist’ of artists that you wanted to have in the collection?
LJ: Well yes, of course I’ve had a wishlist! Earlier when I was working as a curator at the Röhsska museum in Gothenburg, I was working a lot with acquisitions to their permanent collections. I was there for about five years and during that time, I indeed created a list of artists whose works I wanted to purchase.
The very first piece we’ve acquired for the Smyckoteket collection was a brooch by Jelizaveta Suska, an artist who we had in focus since she was a student, from her ‘Frozen in Amber’ series. But the piece that appears to be the most popular so far, is a necklace by Åsa Lockner, an eye-catching jewel with a lot of stones and colours.
CO: You mentioned that this collection is not meant for preserving the pieces, so some marks or damages are to be expected; it’s kind of the opposite of how museums normally collect, right?
LJ: Yes, it is. I mean, we are not against the conventional way of collecting at museums. It’s just that we want to make a test and try to do it differently. And it’s easier for us to do it as a rather smaller museum.
I believe that the experience of wearing a piece can be so nice and intense, it can trigger the desire to have it on one’s own.
CO: Do you think that this way of handling and presenting jewellery can help to increase interest for contemporary jewellery, promote the artists, and perhaps boost their sales? Do you see this model working in that sense?
LJ: Obviously, it is not the main goal of the project, but actually we’ve been thinking along these lines. I believe that the experience of wearing a piece can be so nice and intense, it can trigger the desire to have it on one’s own. I can’t say if that has happened yet, but I do think it will happen.
CO: I’m also curious about the process of collecting experiences and feedback from people who had the chance to borrow a piece from your collection. How did you set up archiving and do you have an interesting story from someone who had a piece on loan?
LJ:We are trying to keep the feedback archive digital. So, if you had a piece on loan then after returning it, you will get an email from the museum asking you to share your experience of wearing the piece and we will archive that.
Actually, we had nice feedback from a woman who borrowed the above-mentioned piece by Åsa Lockner for her birthday. She wrote a very touching story about how happy she was to wear this piece, how intrigued her friends were by it, and how much they complimented her.
Jewellery by Karin Roy Andersson
Pow Pendant by Lin Cheung, Instant Jewellery series
Brooch by Anna Talbot, Tartan punk series
Earrings by Hanna Liljenberg, Vanitas series
CO: Do you have an idea of the purpose of this archive? Is it going to be shared with the public?
LJ: Yes, that’s definitely the intention. Over a certain period of time when we’ve collected more stories and experiences, we will think about how this archive can be used or shared with a larger audience. But of course, it also depends on what kind of stories we’ll receive. Up until now, I’m sad to say that the Covid-19 put a blanket on Smyckoteket in a way. Since there are no parties, openings, basically any major gatherings, people haven’t been so keen on borrowing pieces. We had a great opening in February but after the corona outbreak, the numbers of loans dropped.
CO: Maybe you could propose the pieces to be borrowed for Zoom meetings!
LJ:We have been thinking about that actually. Particularly earrings would be of interest in the setting like that (laughs)!
KONSTHANTVERKSCENTRUM – Vernissage / Opening
Utställning / Exhibition / Artist in Office
30 September, 16.00-18.00
Address: Bellmansgatan 5, Stockholm
Smyckoteket – RIAN Designmuseum
Artists: Åsa Elmstam, Adam Grinovich, Helena Johansson Lindell, Åsa Lockner, Anna Norrgrann, Karin Roy Andersson, Healim Shin, Carina Shoshtary, Jelizaveta Suzka, Anna Talbot.
About: The jewelry library is Rian Design Museum’s new collection of jewelry art. The collection contains about twenty pieces of jewelry that are available for loan.